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resignation to sufferings, which, in the sacred words of scripture, “ are but for a moment,” becomes a less difficult duty.
The Luxembourg had lately been fitted up to receive the crowd of new inhabitants, with which it was going to be peopled, and every apar
ment obtained, a particular appellation, which was, inscribed on the outside of the door. We were lodged in the chanıber of Cincinnatus : Brutus, I think, was our next door neighbour ; and Socrates had pitched his tent at the distance of a few paces. The chamber of Indivisibility was allotted to some persons accused of federalism, and Liberty was written in broad characters over the door of a. prisoner who was au secret*. With respect to the great names, ii has been observed in Paris, that almost all the illustrious characters of Greece and Rome have been led to the Guillotine--for instance, Brutus, who often while we were in prison, came from the municipality with orders from Anaxagoras, was soon after doomed to an equal fate,
" Alike in fortune, as alike in fame!” together with Anarcharsis, Agricola, Aristides, Phocion, Sempronius Gracchus, Epaminondas, Cato the elder and the younger, and many other no less celebrated worthies, who fell in sad succession under the sword of Maximiliant. Our prison was filled with a multitude of
persons of different conditions, characters, opinions and countries, and seemed an epitome of the whole world. The mornings were devoted to business, and passed in little occupations, of which the prisoners sometimes complained, but for which perhaps they had reason to be thankful, since less
* In close confinement.
The christian name of Robespierre.
leisure was left them to brood over their misfortunes. Every one had an appointed task : in each chamber the prisoners, by turns, lighted the fires, swept the rooms, arranged the beds; and those who could not afford to have dinner from a tavern, or, as the rich were yet permitted, from their own houses, prepared themselves their meals. Every chamber formed a society subject to certain regulations : a new president was chosen every day, or every week, who enforced its laws and maintained good order. In some chambers no person was allowed to sing after ten, in others, after eleven at night. This restriction would, perhaps, have been superfluous in England, in a similar situation ; but it was highly necessary here, since it prevented such of the prisoners as were more light-hearted than the rest, from singing all night long, to the annoyance of others of their neighbours who might think the music which resounded through the prison during the day fully sufficient. The system of equality, whatever opposition it met with in the world, was in its full extent practised in the prison. United by the strong tic of comnion calamity, the prisoners considered themselves as bound to soften the general evil by mutual kind offices; and stran, gers meeting in such circumstances soou becanje friends. The poor lived not upon the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table, but shared the conforts of the repast; and here was found a community of the small stock of goods, which belonged to the whole without the necessity of a requisition. One broom which was the pro. perty of a countess, was used by twenty delicate hands to sweep their respective apartments; and a tea-kettle, with which a friend furnished my mother, was literally, as Dr. Johnson observed of his Own, never allowed time to cool," but was, L
employed from morning to night in furnishing the English with tea.
In the afternoon the prisoners met in an antichamber, which commanded a view of the gardens. Here they formed themselves into groups: some conversed, others walked up and down the room; others gazed from the windows on the walks below, where, perhaps, they recognized a relation or a friend, who, being denied the privilege of visiting the prison, had come to sooth them with a look or tear of sympathy. During the first days of our confinement, the prisoners were permitted to see their friends; and many a striking contrast of gaiety and sorrow did the anti-chamber then exhibit. In one part of the room, lively young people were amusing their visitors by a thousand little pleasantries on their own situation; in another, a husband who was a prisoner was taking leave of his wife who was come to see him, and shedding tears over his child who was clinging to his knees, or had thrown its arms around his neck, and refused to be torn from its father. As the number of prisoners increased, which they did so rapidly, that in less than a week they were augmented from an hundred to a thousand, the rules of the prison became more severe, and the administrators of the police gave strict orders, that no person whatever should be admitted. After this period, the wives of some of the prisoners came regularly every day, bringing their children with them, to the terrace of the gardens. You often saw the mother weeping, and the children 'stretching out their little hands and pointing to their fathers, who stood with their eyes fixed upon the objects of their affections; but sometimes a surly sentinel repressed these melancholy effusions of tenderness, by calling to the persons in the walk to keep off, and make no signs
to the prisoners.-- In the mean time, among the crowd that filled the public room, were fine gentlemen and fine ladies, who had held the highest rank. at court, some fiirting together, others making appointments for card parties or music, in their own apartments in the evening, and others relating te ns, in pathetic languge, all that they had suffered, and all they had lost by the revolution. It was impossible not to sympathize in the distresses of some, or avoid wondering at the folly of others, in whom the strong sense of danger could not overcome the feelings of vanity; and who, although the tremendous decree had just gone forth, making “ terror the order of the day,” and knowing that the fatal pre-eminence of rank was the surest passport to the guillotine, could not resist using the proscribed nomenclature of “ Madame la duchesse, “ Monsieur le compte," &c. which seemed to issue from their lips like natural melodies to which the ear has long been accustomed, and which the voice involuntarily repeats.
There were, however, among the captive nobility, many persons who had too much good sense not to observe a different conduct, who had proved themselves real friends to liberty, had made important sacrifices in its cause, and who had been led to prison by revolutionary committees on pretences the most trivial, and sometimes from mistakes the most ludicrous. Such was the fate of the former count and countess of
who had distinguished themselves from the beginning of the revolution by the ardour of their patriotism, and the largeness of their civic donations. They had hitherto lived undisturbed in their spleudid hotel, and there they might probably have continued to live a little longer had not the countess, in an evil hour, sent down to her chateau a fine marble hearth, which by some accident was broken on the way. The steward sent å
Jetter, in which, among other things, he mentioned ahat the “ foyer* must be repaired at Paris.” The letter was intercepted and read by the revolutionary committee. They swore, they raged at the dark designs of aristocracy. “Here," said they, " is a daring plot indeed! a foyer of counter revolution, and to be repaired at Paris ! We must instantly seize the authors and the accomplices." In yain the countess related the story of the hearth, and asserted that no conspiracy lurked beneath the marble: both herself and her husband were conducted to the maison d'arrêt of their section, from which we saw them arrive at the Luxembourg with about sixty other persons at the hour of midnight, after having been led through the streets in procession by the light of an immense number of flambeaux, and guarded by a whole battalion. These prisoners had at least the consolation of finding themselves in the society of many of their friends and acquaintances, for all the polite part of the fauxbourg St. Germain might be said to be assembled at the Luxembourg in mass. Imprisonment here was, however, no longer the exclusive distinction of former nobility, but was extended to great numbers of the former third estate. We had priests, physicians, merchants, shop-keepers, actors and actresses, French valets and English waiting-women, all assembled together in the publiç room ; but in the private apartments, Benoit's benevolent heart taught him the most delicate species of politeness, by placing those persons together who were most likely to find satisfaction in each others society.
Amidst many an eloquent tale of chateaux levelled with the ground, and palaces where, to borrow
Foyer is the French name for hearth, and also for the central point of a system.